Scribusoid

Author Topic: Images with transparent backgrounds  (Read 19158 times)

vradul

  • Guest
Images with transparent backgrounds
« on: February 24, 2013, 05:49:25 am »
I am very new to Scribus - to DTP software generally. I've installed both Scribus 1.4.2 and Indesign CS6 and I'm evaluating them for a simple project. Scribus wins on cost and ease of use, while InDesign wins on some features that may not be necessary for my project, but has a high cost.

InDesign will allow me to place  a pdf file image with transparent background in a frame on a layer above a background layer and the background layer will show through my images background transparency, which is what I want.

Scribus appears - unless I've missed something - to not work with background transparency in pdf images but replaces the transparency with a white background.

I can get around this limitation in Scribus by saving my images in png format, but I have a lot of them and would like to work with my pdfs.

Is this something Scribus cannot do, or am I missing something?
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 06:37:19 am by vradul »

Nermander

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1316
  • Karma: 17
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 10:29:48 am »
Transparency is not supported by all versions of the PDF format.

InDesign might use a transparency flattener to "simulate" transparency in PDF versions that do not support it. Scribus does not yet include a flattener (someone will have to write one).

The solution would be to use a "higher" PDF version (I think 1.4 supports transparency, at least 1.5 does).

vradul

  • Guest
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 12:48:11 pm »
Thanks for your reply.

I've been using PDF 1.4. The files are created in Photoshop CS5. Saving as PDF 1.5  produces the same result. Background transparency that InDesign can see but that Scribus does not.

Nermander

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1316
  • Karma: 17
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 04:02:53 pm »
What are you using to view the PDF? You should use Adobe Reader, because that is the only PDF viewer that is fully compliant with the PDF specification.


Oh, wait, sorry, I didn't read your original post right. You are embedding PDF:s in your document? The embedding of PDF is an experimental feature, it might not always work as expected.

Are you sure that the frame containing the PDF is set to have a transparent background? I don't have any PDF that I know has transparency, so I can not test myself.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 04:05:28 pm by Nermander »

vradul

  • Guest
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2013, 04:31:25 pm »
Oh yes, the images definitely have transparent backgrounds. I made them. They are made with Photoshop: Save As -> PDF. You can do the same thing with GIMP I imagine (though I've never used it)

InDesign works with them just fine.

The frames in the Scribus document I am inserting them into have transparent backgrounds, and are on a transparent layer that is one level above a base background layer with some border images on it.

If I convert them to .png images Scribus will work with them just fine too - but if i insert them into the frames as pdf's the transparent background in them turns white.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 06:16:24 pm by vradul »

Nermander

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1316
  • Karma: 17
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2013, 06:47:12 pm »
But if you have the images in Photoshop, why do you save them as PDF? As far as I understand Scribus can even import Photoshop bitmap images (.psd?).

http://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Help:Manual_Importpsd

PDF is intended as a final format, using it as an intermediate format is asking for trouble. And saving bitmap images into a PDF for importing into Scribus is IMO even stupid. It just adds overhead, because internally in the PDF it will be store as a bitmap image anyway. So you get a PDF "intro" plus your bitmap instead of just the bitmap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format#Raster_images

I know that JPEG doesn't support transparency but TIFF and PNG to.

vradul

  • Guest
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2013, 06:53:09 pm »
Many printers use InDesign and prefer pdf images. Up till now my printer has been doing layouts for me, but I am switching printers, want to do my own layouts, and would like to continue using my pdf images because I have so many of them, as I mentioned in my first comment.

Bitmap images are raster - pixel based - and very low quality for printing, as are jpeg and other formats.

Using pdf images is very common for high quality printing. They can be raster or vector - vector images are preferable for print quality output.

This is beside the point of what I'm after, which is to find a way to use the pdf images without buying InDesign.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 07:13:42 pm by vradul »

Nermander

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1316
  • Karma: 17
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2013, 07:11:15 pm »
Problably Scribus can not handle transparency in PDF, so your choice is to use TIFF or buy Indesign. I know what my choice would be.

vradul

  • Guest
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2013, 07:17:02 pm »
Your choice may be fine for you, but is also beside the point. I wasn't looking for your choice of what to do, but how to do something else.

I may have no choice but to convert all my images to png or another format (to use Scribus) which would take me days if not weeks, or buy InDesign.

If can avoid the expense of InDesign I would like to, although I'd prefer using software that works for me, rather than software that I would be "working for".

Also, photoshop pdf's contain layers editable with photoshop, whereas converting to other formats like png or others merges layers and increases the time needed to edit images as they would need to be recreated from the photoshop files anyway.

Scribus would have a lot more users if it can be shown to equal the power and usability of InDesign. "probably" not is not an answer but an opinion. I was hoping for discussion with someone who has extensive experience with Scribus and pdf images.

In your Adobe Reader under Edit Preferences check "Show transparency grid", and open this pdf: http://coastcoffeenews.com/files/images/imagewithtransparentbackground.pdf, then try putting that image in a Scribus image frame. If you can find a way to retain the transparency in a Scribus image frame please let me know how you do it.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 08:32:00 pm by vradul »

Nermander

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1316
  • Karma: 17
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2013, 09:19:23 pm »
If you want to hammer nails with a wrench, that's your choice. But don't blame the nails when things don't work as expected:)

You can tell already from the preview in the Get image dialog that Scribus does not see the transparency of the PDF.

So, it seems as if Scribus can not handle transparency when a PDF is inserted into an image frame.

Scribus is Open Source and written by volounteers, there are a lot of things people wish Scribus would have that nobody yet have had the time to write.


And, as I said, Scribus can import PSD files. That is the native format for Photoshop. PSD files can have layers and such features.

vradul

  • Guest
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2013, 09:23:48 pm »
It has the same issue with PSD files.

It's becoming clear that Scribus is hammering nails with a wrench, in this case.

I'll either buy InDesign or modify Scribus.

What I had hoped in posting my questions is that perhaps some of the developers who have worked on the image processing routines in Scribus can make some suggestions as to what needs to be done for it to support PDF image transparency.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 10:26:26 pm by vradul »

utnik

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1319
  • Karma: 14
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2013, 03:19:16 am »
hi vradul

It's becoming clear that Scribus is hammering nails with a wrench, in this case.

…i don't think so. but scribus is in first place programmed for perfect results in a professional workflow. using the .pdf format for the pixel image exchange from photoshop to a dtp program is not really the professional way…
if you would like to have this functionality (.pdf with transparency), you should at least file a feature request at: 'http://bugs.scribus.net'.

Quote
What I had hoped in posting my questions is that perhaps some of the developers…
…can make some suggestions as to what needs to be done for it to support PDF image transparency.

for contacting the scribus devs, the mailing lists (http://lists.scribus.net) are a better place than this forum.

utnik

vradul

  • Guest
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2013, 05:37:46 am »
It's a very good program utnik, and I say that with more than 40 years of programming experience behind me. It does the workflow very well and is very easy to use - meaning the complexity of the tasks is hidden from the user and handled by code and programming logic.

I deal with printers all over the world every day who use DTP software do do their layouts and are producing very high end publications laid out very quickly. Virtually all of them want hi-res pdf files for images. And most of them are using InDesign to layout.

I like Scribus - it's even easier to use than InDesign, imo. It's good at workflow. There is no reason for it to be altering image formats that are imported. As far as I can see it does this only with pdf images, while leaving all other images alone and placing them as is.

utnik

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1319
  • Karma: 14
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 11:40:41 am »
hi vradul

you mix something up: .pdf is not an image format. inside the .pdf file your images are normal rastergraphics.

I deal with printers all over the world…

…Virtually all of them want hi-res pdf files for images.

…they accept a .pdf file, which contains a raster file, inside another .pdf file. but there is no need to put .pdf files with raster files into a next .pdf – and no printer will require this…

Quote
…it does this only with pdf images, while leaving all other images alone and placing them as is.

as i mentioned before, you should file a feature request or contact the devs via mailing lists, if you need this 'pdf with transparency' option.

btw. there are .pdf files with images, but no .pdf images!

utnik

vradul

  • Guest
Re: Images with transparent backgrounds
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 01:36:55 pm »
Quote
inside the .pdf file your images are normal rastergraphics.

Yes. No reason for scribus to be altering them.

Quote
I deal with printers all over the world…

…Virtually all of them want hi-res pdf files for images
Quote
no printer will require this

"It's not happening" is not an argument worth replying to.

You're becoming an effective advocate for using anything but scribus, utnik. Thanks for your time.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2013, 01:38:49 pm by vradul »

 

palmate